For this roundtable, the staff was asked something brief upon which they could expound. Some did, others did not. Who is your Maverick to watch in 2022-23?
Ben: You know what you’re going to get from most of the players on the Mavericks’ roster. Luka Doncic will be brilliant, Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock will play defense and shoot, Spencer Dinwiddie will cook some games, miss every shot others. For me, the biggest question mark is Tim Hardaway Jr. Is he still the same THJ from 2020-21? Or were his early results from 2021-22 indicative of what he’ll look like going forward? It’s possible Hardaway would’ve rounded into form if he hadn’t broken his foot in early January, but there’s no way to know. The first month or so of the season should tell us whether Hardaway is back to the player who could explode for 27 points at any time.
Doyle: JaVale McGee. I’m really curious when the Mavs realize they made a mistake and need to deal him to land another ball handler.
Brent: Jaden Hardy. There is wild outcome variance here. Does he get buried in Frisco with the Legends most of the year? Or start against Phoenix and make all our wildest dreams come true?
The idea of trading into the draft and nabbing someone who had so much hype out of high school felt like a home run swing at the time. Given that the Mavs have had such a rough go in the draft outside of Luka and JB - the idea of actually connecting on that home run swing in the form of Hardy being a difference-maker in year one is a tantalizing notion. Here’s hoping.
Kirk: Half the roster? At the moment, Spencer Dinwiddie is very interesting to me. He’s been moved back to the bench after we thought he’d be starting. How does playing against back ups affect his consistency? I thought playing with Luka Doncic was very good for his shot making and while he should see a lot of time against lesser players on second units, I still worry about him doing too much. He’s never been that efficient of a player and Dallas needs efficiency in the non-Doncic minutes.
Clint: Mavs Man. I fear that if I let him out of my sight he will harm me and those that I love.
Matthew: This answer is simplistic but the answer is Luka Doncic. Everyone knows he is amazing and so it is tempting to select another player with a wider variance in potential outcomes. But the point of watching sports is to hopefully see people transcend our own limitations and achieve greatness. Doncic does that on a night to night and play by play basis. When you are telling your grandchildren about the Mavericks from this era, you may save a little time for Dorian Finney-Smith or someone else but you will always gravitate to Doncic. That is why the player to watch is Doncic.
Ian: Christian Wood. Does he stay on the bench all season? Does he play more center, or power forward, and what big will they match him with? I think it’s fair to say there are plenty of reasons Wood is on his 7th team in 7 seasons, so the idea of him as some emerging star has probably lapsed at this point, but as we saw in his preseason Mavs debut, Wood is a dangerous weapon who can get hot offensively. It was a failed project getting Kristaps Porzingis involved in the two man game with Luka Doncic, and while on paper KP should have been capable of being both a roll or pop option screening for Luka, that never really materialized in Dallas.
Wood, meanwhile, already looks as comfortable working with Doncic as Porzingis ever did, and I expect that to be an extremely potent combo for the Mavs this season. Wood may not be a longterm fixture in Dallas, but the Mavs may have finally put someone next to their star Slovenian who can effectively leverage his vision and offensive gravity in multiple ways. When it’s working, it should be a lot of fun.